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Friday, June 2, 2023

“We are going to defend the question of superprofits”, assures Aurélie Trouvou (LFI)

Turn the page of retreats, by opening that of another more than expected file: the sharing of value. The government presented a bill on the subject to the Council of Ministers on May 24. Supported by the Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, this text is, according to the executive, a transposition of the agreement concluded between the unions and the employers in February. A way of proving that social dialogue is always possible and thatEmmanuel Macron is able to carry out one of his campaign proposals. In 2022, he promised the establishment of a “employee dividend” to better share the profit of a company towards the employees.

On the side of the majority, modifications to this text will be limited. As for the opposition, it sees an opportunity to step up. Some deputies from La France insoumise (LFI) have already prepared a counter-proposal which will be discussed with trade unions and Nupes partners on May 31 or June 12, after the group’s parliamentary niche. Liot. An alternative text which could well be broken down into amendments.

History to electrify the debate when the text will be examined in the hemicycle at the end of June. Alongside Marianne Maximi, Matthias Tavel and Hadrien Clouet, Aurelie Found leads the battle. The deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis and former spokesperson for Attac firmly believes that this text in no way settles the question of salaries.

How did you react when you looked at the bill on value sharing presented to the Council of Ministers on May 24 by the Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt?
It’s a trap. This government is doing everything not to increase wages and limit dividends.

However, this text plans to develop bonuses, mechanisms of participation or profit-sharing. Isn’t that enough for you?
These are subterfuges. In the text of the government, it is a question of extending the Macron bonus (today called “value sharing premium”, editor’s note). It has existed since 2018 and has many problems. First, it represents a substitution for wages. INSEE has calculated that approximately 30% of these bonuses replaced wage increases. Then, it only applies to a small part of employees since in 2022, it concerns only 5 million employees. Finally, it empties the pension and social security funds because this premium is exempt from contributions and social security contributions. Bonuses can never replace salaries. Concerning profit-sharing and participation, these are two mechanisms linked to the company’s results. It is an insidious means of pushing employees to adopt a business operation that aims to increase its profits, without them having the decision-making power of a shareholder.

What’s next after this ad

What are you going to defend?
Initially, an indexation of wages to inflation. Today, there is a 3% drop in real wages since they have not kept up with the increase in prices. The purchasing power of the French has therefore seriously diminished. And check policies have not compensated for this decline. We are also going to defend an increase in the Smic to 1,600 euros. Because you cannot live with dignity from your work with 1,400 euros. Secondly, we believe that corporate profits make it possible to respond to this increase in wages. It is therefore necessary to better redistribute income in companies by limiting the maximum difference for remuneration from 1 to 20 and by capping dividends, because we are seeing an amplification of the payment of wealth rather towards shareholder remuneration than towards salaries.

Olivier Dussopt fears “a risk of overbidding” on the question of superprofits. Do you intend to revive the debate?
We will defend the question of superprofits. And we won’t be the only ones. The MoDem had already broached the subject in 2022 (the National Assembly had voted an amendment to the finance bill aimed at introducing a “ flat tax” at 35% on super-dividends against the advice of the government, editor’s note). But perhaps the government and the majority will arrange for many of our amendments to be declared inadmissible

The topic of superprofits has been around for over a year. Has public opinion shifted on this issue?
There is a sign that proves that we have won the battle of ideas on this subject: the government is obliged to occupy this ground in their text. And yet, it is not in its ideological software. If there is no word “superprofits”, the bill refers to “exceptional profits”. The government distorts the idea but is forced to use our terms.

In this bill, the government transcribes an interprofessional agreement concluded in February between the three representative employers’ organizations (Medef, CPME, U2P) and four representative unions out of five (since the CGT has not signed). Isn’t this a sign that the executive wishes to reopen social dialogue?
It is a diversion so that the French forget the pensions. In truth, the government seeks to divide the intersyndicale since the CGT and the CFDT did not have the same positions on this text. But they won’t. Moreover, even if the CFDT has signed this agreement, it intends to continue the fight to increase wages. The union front will hold.

What will become of this counter-proposal?

It may be broken down into amendments. We will discuss these counter-proposals with the unions and all of Nupes. Our ideas will perhaps evolve thanks to this debate with the whole left. We must come to the Assembly together with common amendments. There will certainly be nuances. Part of the Nupes is perhaps less radical on the bonus, profit-sharing and participation schemes. However, we very often have identical votes in the Assembly. And for our proposals to be voted on, we must have a majority. This is why we even invite the Liot group to discuss our text with us before it is examined in Parliament.

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